Abstract Title
Study of Stress Among Health Sciences Oriented Preparatory Year Students In Riyadh: A Cross Sectional Study


Dr.Mohammed Binnwejim


Best Practices in Student Engagement and Support


College of Medicine- Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University


The Health Science Preparatory Program (HSPP) is a special program that aims to enhance the educational preparedness of students for participation in a health sciences career. Students spend their first university year in a combined extensive teaching program before they can be assigned to a particular health science specialty. It is thought that students enrolled in a highly competitive environment such as HSPP with a long list of potential stressors, including developmental, academic overload, language barriers and competition, are more disposed to stress and stress-related complications. This study aims to measure the level of academic stress and to determine its risk factors in students enrolled in HSPP-adapted local universities in Saudi Arabia.

Summary of Work

The study design we carried out was of Cross-sectional type, and the sample of this study was students enrolled in health sciences oriented preparatory years of three universities, Imam Mohammed Bin Saud University, King Saud University and King Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz University for Health Science. Data was collected by handing out self-administrated questionnaire, which involved three components. The first component consisted of 30 items Scale for Assessing Academic Stress (SAAS), second component was containing eight items of categorical type to assess seven academic stress mediators, and third was an open answer item.


We are most thankful to all the students who participated in our study. We would also like to thank the institutional review board committee at College of Medicine in Al-Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Islamic University for their kind support and guidance. We would also like to thank those who helped us in distributing the questionnaire; Mr Turki   Alqumaisi and Mr  Abdulkreem Alharbi. 

Summary of Results

A total of 290 students successfully completed the questionnaire (N=290), with a mean age of 18.66 (16–23 years), SD = 0.695. A total of 171 (59%) students were from KSU, and 119 (41%) students were from IMSU. Male students were 186 (64.1%), while female students represented 104 (35.9%). Other sociodemographic data are shown in Table 1

Mean SAAS scores for KSU and IMSU students were 8.37 (SD = 4.641) and 7.97 (SD = 5.104), P=0.480, respectively. Male and female student scores were 7.64 (SD = 4.856) and 9.22 (SD = 4.640), P=0.007, respectively. Partial representation of each SAAS indicator including cognitive, affective, physical, social/interpersonal and motivational indicators were mean scores of 1.94, 1.71, 1.51,.90 and 2.16, respectively (Table 2). Association between SAAS score and sociodemographic variables is shown in Table 3.

The majority of students who participated in the study showed high motivation to be within the top ranking of their classes (69%). The same percentage of students highly agreed with receiving adequate social support. Also, the majority of students disclosed high and moderate satisfaction regarding their institution’s quality of teaching (30.3% and 51%, respectively). A total of 59.7% of students highly agreed with having self-confidence and 78.6% of them admit low perception due to social and health problems that affect their lives. There was no correlation between gender and stress mediators (P=0.111, P=0.339, P=0.228, P=0.291, and P=0.795 for motivation of achievement, social support, satisfaction, self-esteem and associated social and health problems, respectively). Only “satisfaction” and “associated social and health problems” have shown statistically significant correlation with university (P=0.000 and P=0.049, respectively). Correlation between SAAS score and stress mediators are emphasized in Figure 1.


As far as is known, this was the first attempt to study academic stress among HSPP students in Gulf countries. HSPP is a newly established educational program in most of the local universities, where students are put in a highly competitive environment with life-changing decisions and circumstances. The impact of such an environment on students’ mentality was unknown. This study has found mean SAAS scores for two local universities with competition-based versus non-competition-based HSPP learning models. Academic stress correlation with age, gender and universities was discussed and valuable future work guidance was recommended.

Take-home Messages

In Saudi Arabia, HSPP needs to be reviewed and re-evaluated to create a good learning environment that help students to improve their competence and reduce Academic stress.


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Summary of Work
Summary of Results
Take-home Messages
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